In case you did not know, Rwanda is building Africa’s very own Silicon Valley, called Kigali Innovation City (KIC). Twenty-five years ago, Rwanda was in the middle of a violent civil war. Now it is building a US$420M innovation park in the capital, Kigali, which it hopes will transform the country into east Africa’s tech and business hub.
Kigali Innovation City (KIC) is the government’s flagship programme to create a hi-tech ecosystem centred around innovation and talent. The government – led by Paul Kagame – wants to accelerate Rwanda’s transition to a knowledge-based economy. To this end, it is modelling itself on the southeast Asian city-state of Singapore.
Rwanda has come a long way since the civil war ended in 1994, having claimed between 500,000 and 1.07 million lives. According to the IMF, in 2019 it had a US$10.2B economy and a population of 12.3 million people (around 1.1 million people live in Kigali). The economy expanded at 10% last year – one of the fastest rates in the world, according to the IMF. On average, the gross domestic product grew by 7.1% a year between 2010 and 2018. The IMF is now forecasting 3.5% growth this year and 6.6% next year.